US stocks Monday finished modestly lower as investor caution returned to the market ahead of Wednesday's unofficial kickoff of third-quarter company earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 17.78 points (0.10 percent) at 16,991.91.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 3.08 (0.16 percent) to 1,964.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index suffered deeper losses, falling 20.82 (0.47 percent) to 4,454.80.
Investors are nervous about the upcoming earnings reports in part because of fears that the dollar's big rise has hit US profits, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.
"People are going to be anxious to see how the few first major reports indicate the rest of the season, especially among the multi-nationals, because of the strong dollar," he said.
Aluminum giant Alcoa reports financial results after the market closes Wednesday, kicking off the earnings season.
Analysts also cited profit taking as a factor in Monday's dip in the wake of a strong September jobs report that pushed Wall Street stocks sharply higher Friday.
Hewlett-Packard advanced 4.7 percent after announcing it plans to split into two separate, listed companies, one focusing on computers and printers, the other on corporate hardware and services operations.
The move by the world's second-largest personal computer maker is the latest in the technology sector based on the belief that tightly focused firms perform better.
BD, a medical device manufacturer, plans to acquire rival CareFusion for $12.2 billion, the companies announced. BD jumped 7.9 percent, while CareFusion soared 22.9 percent.
Hilton Worldwide fell 0.5 percent after announcing it would sell the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City to Anbang Insurance Group of China for $1.95 billion.
Airline stocks fell on concerns about the Ebola virus. American Airlines dropped 3.6 percent, Delta Air Lines fell 2.3 percent and United Airlines lost 2.8 percent.
Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.42 percent from 2.45 percent Friday, while the 30-year held steady at 3.13 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.